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Review: Intel ISEF (International Science and Engineering Fair) Public Day

May 17, 2018 Leave a comment

 

ISEF Public Day 2018

(c)2018 Intel ISEF

Review: Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

Us knowing ISEF was in Pittsburgh started out by attending a tour of CCAC. The one professor my step-daughter talked to strongly suggested that she check out ISEF on the public day (as he would be judging one of the areas). We’d like to thank Abiraman Srinivasan for that.

Keep in min my step-daughter goes to one of the most highly rated public school districts in the area. Nobody informed her of this opportunity, nobody knew about it when asked for permission to miss part of the school day. It took one professor that did not even have my step-daughter as a possible student yet to take interest enough in that student to alert them to what was really out there.

The event was completely and unbelievably impressive. When you see a student’s eyes light up when they realize what opportunities are really out there – it makes you overjoyed that you took the time to act on a suggestion.

Half way through the event, I asked my step-daughter if she would have handled high school differently if she knew what opportunities were out there she said “yes”.

The problem is when events like this happen very few schools get their students to them. Sadly this does create a lack of inspiration in our young to have any ambition for higher education. You have to know about the goals to have ambitions towards them.  Kudos to Intel for making this possible … even if you don’t like their processors. This is truly a company giving back to the community.

The only bad side to the event was the realization of how far behind the US is in education. A family member works for a very well-known tech college in Pittsburgh and many times you rumors of them only seeking out international students. After talking to many of these students at this event – I now know why. I spent half of my day having conversations with high school students from other countries and felt like I was speaking to seasoned scientists and researchers. When I talked to the students there from the US they were smart … but it seemed like I as speaking to high school students. Got back to the 60s, 70s, and 80s and this situation would have been flipped. I’m not bad-mouthing the US students, just indicating that we may need to get rid of the entitlement thing big time in this country so we can do some catching up.

In an unexpected and enlightening realization – this even also proved one thing. When there is a very strong common interest or goal people from all walks of life have absolutely nothing against each other. In this even where people of persuasion that the news depicts as absolutely hating each other.  Not a sign of any discomfort between any students, their parents, volunteers, or attendees. None. All of then had one common goal – advance science. We need to learn from this.

In summary – this was an amazing even from a multitude of viewpoints. If ISEF is happening and it’s not in your area and you have a student trying to figure out what to do with their higher education that may give them a real opportunity to actually pay for that education and still have enough left over for a real life – fly them to it.  It’s worth the cost of plane ticket. ISEF if an immense opportunity to simply expose students to the information about careers and opportunities that exist in current times and the future.

Give people opportunities and peace will happen automatically by giving the ability to have food,shelfter, and quality of life.

Big Kudos to Intel for sponsoring this event!

-SWB

 

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Wiener World (A Pittsburgh Icon)

May 15, 2018 Leave a comment
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“Hot Dog King” (c)Lawrence A Capozzolo

No … this is not a blog posting on a less than family friendly movie.

Get you head out of the gutter.

No, really – stop thinking that!!!! It’s REALLY embarassing.

To the food …

Wiener World is probably one of the last established long time food icons left in the city that almost brings visions of a New York scene in an episode of Seinfeld. We did try the soup guy thing, but that didn’t stick.

I guess hot dogs are easier —- everyone loves a hot dog. I mean, what’s better than something that contains 2% of stuff that should never be in your daily intake. Just kidding.

WW has been around in the city ever since I can remember – sort of like S.W. Randall Toys and Gifts. It’s one of those things that’s never not been there. It’s also one of those things you easily forget to visit occasionally.

Don’t miss out on this one …. it’s a treat.

Tradition, taste, and hot stuff on a bun … perfect!

Our rating … we skip on this one. You just can’t rate tradition. Kudos to Wiener World for keeping it alive.

-SWB

PS – don’t forget the chili.

The Movies

May 10, 2018 Leave a comment
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“The Warner” (c)Lawrence A Capozzolo

Warner Centre in Pittsburgh PA. Click here for a great article from The Post-Gazette on it.

Basically where I first viewed “Empire Strikes Back”. Memories.

I remember standing in line with my mother waiting to get in and hit the snack counter. A Star Wars fan … but still a kid. Sweets trumped getting a good seat. Besides – like everyone else I would see it at least 75 times (today’s cost over $800).

“The Movies” are something everyone remembers, and although they are coming back, today they lack the same sentimental memories. I mean those memories of friends huddled in the theater  annoying the other patrons, your buddies throwing popcorn at the back of your head during the film, and occasionally getting kicked out – which is why you probably needed to see the movie 75 times (you weren’t a fanboy or fangirl – you just saw the movie a few minutes at a time … and you could afford to do that in times past).

The movies also lost a little bit of art in them.  The art of physical editing, photography based on the chemical methods of development and how it affected the end result on the screen (still done today for specialized shooting), and the low clicking and hum you could still hear from the projectors in the back of the room. It all added to the experience.

Even with theaters popping up in communities new it’s still a little different. Drive-ins are still recovering (the ones that can with the forced upgrades to digital projection). New film makers are finding their footing (all digital, back to film, or hybrids). “The Movies” are truly in a transitional stage – which will last for years.

Maybe things will reset … new isn’t always best, or always desired.

If you see “The Movies” coming back in your community … support them. They may be the sentimental memories you need when you end up in that rocking chair on the front porch.

-SWB

 

City overshadowed

May 5, 2018 Leave a comment
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“Forgotten” (c)Lawrence A Capozzolo

SWB Series: Nonsense and Such

Do you live in a place that people seemed to have forgotten about?

Do you remember when you were young you lived in the hottest, coolest place on the earth?

Now, your pretty sure you live in a retirement community … overshadowed by the latest and greatest cool cities.

… or you live in Silicon Valley and you just traded your $3 million house for a 1970s custom van so you can  buy groceries this week.

Maybe not … if you’ve living near me you didn’t create a start-up that good.

So, one day you take the telescope you bought your kid because you thought it was ultra-cool (you’re a parent now, so you were really wrong about that which is why it’s in your closet and not their room), and point it across the river and see someone on the other side taking a picture of your city.

You figure out where they are and contact them (Big Brother Google makes this easy these days). You ask them what they are doing (you are curious, but vigilant too – so you want to make sure your city doesn’t have a stalker … remember there WERE children here once).

They tell you they are taking pictures and video clips for their YouTube series.

You ask, “What series is that?”

“Abandoned cities in Pennsylvania”, they reply.

… and then reality quickly sets in, and the truth comes out – ur just old, so is your city.

Welcome to middle age … it’s the new ancient.

-SWB

 

National indie bookstore day

April 27, 2018 Leave a comment

coolstuffTake note tomorrow is Indie Bookstore Day (April 28, 2018) – click here for info. Despite the fact that “they” have deemed bookstores a dying breed … I completely disagree.

I do believe that hands are being changed from the Wally World sized mega libraries, back to where books belong … with the indie dealers that love them, and know them. I don’t care who you are, but the experience of buying something from someone that actually uses the product, or in this case, has read it …. makes a big difference.

I like going into my indie bookstore, where the shop keep (yes, I watch to much British TV) might have a bit of a intellectual “attitude” because they actually read their books on something other than a pad or phone (which means they actually comprehended the book too). I like the fact that they can hold a conversation with me on an author, a subject, or an issue – and have a clue.  Try that at Goliath Books!

We have a great indie store near where I live called The Penguin Bookshop. Great selection, and it sort of reminds me of Black Books – except the people at Penguin are actually sober.

If it’s in stock tomorrow I will be buying Alan Alda’s new book on communicating.  Check it out here.

If you aren’t buying books, buy one tomorrow (or maybe today) …. start a habit!

-SWB

Tying down progress

April 25, 2018 Leave a comment
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“Tying me down” (c) Lawrence A Capozzolo

Did you every find yourself typing down progress – your own, I mean?

This doesn’t mean getting married, or getting a pet, or buying a car, etc. It means putting yourself in a position where growth isn’t possible because opportunity has been eliminated.

How do I mean eliminating opportunity? Well, several ways – one for instance is taking that minimum wage job right after college to pay for the student loads and then never being able to get days off for job interviews. Another is would be over scheduling your education where you can never get time off to work an internship, or network. I’m sure you can think of a ton of things in your head.

This seems to be because many have lost basic skills such as time management. I see so many people who has over-scheduled lives as children doing the same thing as adults. It’s very interesting seeing people come in late for appointments, not because they ran into traffic, or had an expected personal issue come up … but, because they were never taught to do something as simple as accounting for a forty-five minute drive time between a doctors appointment and a lunch meeting, etc.

Doesn’t seem like much, right?

Not really … good time management gets stress out of your life, along with possibly getting you that new job, promotion, or extra quality time with family.

Time management can be key to making you feel like you have a life – and thoroughly remove the necessity for buzz phrases like “work life balance”.

Here are a few cool links about time management:

Now …. for a really bad poem about time:

Time
… I thought it was all mine.
Time
… It never made me a dime.
Time
… All it does is make me whine.
Time
… it’s totally blown my mind.

and so on, and so on ……

hmmm … maybe that’s a really bad song.

well, leave it up to a tech guy to mess up a bad poem into a bad song.

-SWB

Thinking Inside The Box

September 26, 2016 Leave a comment

thinkinsidetheboxYou read it right … “think inside the box”.

It’s the new buzz phrase around the water cooler (or Redbull dispenser – whichever you have).

Confused? Yes – Good. I don’t have throw my coffee cup away yet.

Here is a little bit the chew on. We’ve been thinking so hard “outside the box” since the latter 80s that, well, “thinking outside the box” is now THE BOX.

The idea behind “thinking outside the box” is doing things differently than everyone else, or truly failing differently than everyone else has been years before you to discover newer, better ways to do the things you do (hmmm … that sounds like a tag line for a really bad millennial commercial). Just to be specific … a really bad millennial commercial is one of those ones where you reach the end, and if there isn’t a company brand floating all over the screen you basically end up thinking “WFT????????????????????? (not WTF … see, now THAT’s being different – we think outside the box here at SWB on a regular basis).”

Considering I work in two ever changing tech fields (Information Technology and Sound Engineering), thinking differently with a good baseline of a solid box to sit new advances on is critical. It’s the only way solid advances are made – along with a little bit of user beta testing and QA processes. Oops, sorry, too many corporate words in that sentence … get over it, and don’t judge me (this is a free country and I’m allowed to enjoy my stereotype).

Want an example? (you guessed it, I’m going to pick on the millennial kiddies again):

Well, whether you like it or not here it is: The big news item on millennials is them living in shared housing. Guess what?  That’s hippie communal living ….. from the 60s. Yep, the newbies couldn’t think of anything but what was already done. If there a difference between the two groups?  Yes – the millennials, even though living in a shared enviro are still materialistic entitled nerds trying to look like they are helping the world by living in a shared environment (filled with many things created with manufacturing processes that are massively toxic). The hippies actually lived together to try and help each other live off the land and share resources, in theory bettering the world (then they discovered mini vans and some of them became hot soccer moms, so that ideal went south). Basically the hippies in today’s world became the box. The millennials are the box too, they just built one that was translucent so they could be in denial about being in it (ya know – if you can’t see it, it’s not there).  BTW …. lots of corporate people do that too.

To get a grip on things – thinking outside the box became the inside of the box and the only way to actually think outside of the box was to get back in the box thus avoiding the outside of the box standard issue thinking that was actually inside the box and in reality only a facsimile of the outside of the box which is limiting your ability to create and innovate inside the box while trying to claw your way out. Simple.

{{place confused dog head tilt here}}

This is not insanity … hang in there, we just bought a new bag of treats and we’ll give you one once you “get it”.

The latest big deal is gamification. See we’re already doing it here at SWB … you get a “treat” if you “get it”. Goal!!!

Keep in mind this doesn’t mean we have to “get it”, just as long as you do. We’ll have no idea what you are actually “getting”, but what the heck, we’re too old to care.

Gamification …. for those not familiar, it’s basically setting a goal and leaving a trail of chocolate chip cookies to it. For those that may have issues getting to their goals because they may be allergic to the chocolate, or the nut particles that may have ended up in the cookies … they can always get a second mortgage on their house to purchase an EpiPen from Mylan helping them get back on track.

Granted, with all of the millennials around me, I was starting to feel left out … so I ordered myself two boxes of trophies from Oriental Trading to make up for all the ones my teachers, coaches, and parents never handed out to me {sniff!}. I want gamification too … hopefully today’s trophy will be a Pez dispenser filled with cola flavored candies.

So, do you get it? … I know you’ve chewed a bit (and we do realize that might be your own tongue you are chewing … you might want to realize that too) … which means you have to be close to “getting it”. Remember, we have fresh treats.

Got it?

It’s all a game of making your outside the box thinking last long enough to allow you to make a difference before someone defines you as “the box”.

… or you can just grab a coffee, go fishing, and allow someone else to stroke out over it.

-SWB

  • Reality shows were initially created to give you a peak into someone else’s real life freeing you from the typically scripted shows with tons of writers … now the reality shows are massively scripted with more writers than a sitcom of the same length. Reality shows are now hated and have become a box that’s worse that the previous box.
  • A great film maker named George Romero was best known for creating an entirely new film experience – zombie movies. The Walking Dead did an excellent job of thinking outside the box and improving on George’s innovation in an actual TV series … then everyone copied and created endless amounts of copy cat zombie movies … enough to induce vomiting by 1 in 5 people on a daily basis. Overkill made an even thicker box that may never be broken out of.
  • IBM created and innovation called the “PC” by thinking way outside the box of their room sized behemoths that even large corporations struggled to afford. Others thought even further outside of the box making those “PCs” the mainstay of data centers, but drove that into a level of overkill that convinced IBM to go back to their old “in the box” creation “the mainframe”.  Guess what you are on most of the time when you use “the cloud”? BTW … the cloud is an innovation that’s been around since about the latter 80s.